The Raids

On July 15th at 10:45am the CSU raided the VCBC for a second time.  

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In January 2002, we suffered a raid by police. This was followed by raids in March, June, and finally February of 2003.

All 17 charges of trafficking that followed these raids were dropped, acquitted, or overturned in the Court of Appeal.

In December 2009, our organization’s bakery facility was raided by police and our baker, Owen Smith was arrested. We fought those charges and won.

Thanks to our constitutional challenge to those resulting charges, Justice Robert Johnston concluded that the section in Health Canada’s Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) (which functionally restricts recipients to using only the dried form of the drug), is unconstitutional; it breaches the Charter of Rights section that guarantees life, liberty, and security of the person.”

The results of the 2012 Supreme Court challenge effectively granted an exemption to patients in Canada, giving them the right to create and consume products derived and created from cannabis.

Raid #6: VCBC Members Fight Back After Raid

By Ted Smith and Jacqueline Kittel

On the morning of Nov 14, 2019, the BC Community Safety Unit raided the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club soon after opening.  When the raid was over, protesters that had gathered during marched over to the office of Carol James to inform her office of the coming storm. As we had planned and published online in the Cannabis Digest, the very next day the club organized a rally at the BC Legislature before reopening the club on Friday November 15th at 3pm.

Please join us in writing to and protesting our provincial leaders to express our frustration with the raids on our medical marijuana compassion club. The Community Safety Unit (CSU) stole medicine from patients whose lives depend on it and this injustice will not be tolerated.  The raids against the VCBC signal the provincial government’s lack of concern for patients rights to access high quality and low cost cannabis medicine.

Please address your concerns to the following political leaders:

Mike Farnworth: Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
604-927-2088
mike.farnworth.mla@leg.bc.ca
107A – 2748 Lougheed Hwy, Port Coquitlam V3B6P2

Hon. John Horgan: BC Premier
250-391-2801
john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca
122-2806 Jacklin Road
Victoria BC V9B5A4

Carole James: Victoria MLA, Deputy Premier
250-952-4211
carole.james.mla@leg.bc.ca
1084 Fort St,
Victoria, BC  V8V3K4

Hedy Fry: Vancouver MP
604-666-0135
hedy.fry@parl.gc.ca

Additionally, we will be organizing weekly protests around the province to ensure the BC NDP do not think this club is going to give up on its membership so easily. The first of these protest’s was Saturday November 23rd at the back of the Empress Hotel in Victoria. The BC NDP, holding its annual convention that afternoon held space as we communicated our grievances to the gathering of political influences. The following Saturday, November 23rd we peacefully protested in front of John Horgan’s office in Langford.

On Saturday December 7th at noon we ventured over to the mainland to visit the office of Mike Farnsworth in New Westminster. Mr. Farnsworth is the director of the Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General in Canada. He has the power to call off these inspectors and to encourage the government to work with us rather than dictate unacceptable terms that compromise the health and safety of our patients. Many of our patients and their caregivers live on the mainland and we are proud to say this rally to drew a substantial crowd.

We do not want to commit to the times and locations of protests beyond a two week date, as we want to remain flexible to ensure our events generate the most pressure possible.  If you hear of any prime opportunities to demonstrate to the BC NDP or Federal Liberal politicians, please contact us. Together we will make this government understand how critical our club’s services are to patients and to encourage politicians to work with us rather than against us.

In addition to letter writing and protesting there will be other campaigns to assist the club financially and politically. For example, when the new year is upon us in January we will be occupying the offices of MLA Carole James and Member of Parliament Hedy Fry. We are also now accepting donations geared towards our legal application and we appreciate your continued support. Tune in to our social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, our website) and the white boards in the club when you are making a purchase for more info on how to get involved with our political actions. 

Thank you so very much to everyone who is helping keep our club operating in these challenging times.

Raid #7: VCBC Raided Second Time By CSU July 15, 2020

By Ted Smith

Minutes after opening on Weds July 15, 2020, investigators with the provincial government’s Community Safety Unit entered the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club for the second time in 8 months.  The action caught the organization by surprise, as everyone assumed the letter of support written by the Victoria mayor and council in January would at least be answered before more enforcement actions were taken.  Indeed, the raid was the province’s response to the municipal government.

The mayor and council unanimously agreed to support the VCBC in an attempt to obtain a temporary exemption from the province. The motion to support our club was not even debated by the council, as it is clear to them that we serve an important role in this awkward legal transition. The letter is on the back of this newsletter, along with the response of the CSU to a letter written by us to follow up the city.  

This took our organization by surprise, with a store full of medicine and limited opportunities to engage in the political process during the COVID situation.  While we will recover financially, in large part due to the overwhelming support we have in our community, this incursion has dismayed many who feel their voices have not been heard after they spoke out following the first raid.  Despite losing a substantial amount of medicine, we were able to reopen again the next day and have been rebuilding our stock ever since.

There may be a reason the CSU felt rushed into hitting the VCBC before the fine was processed or any other actions taken by our new law firm JFK Law Corporation.  On the day after, Thurs July 16, the Victoria Chief of Police was ordered to begin an investigation by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner into the involvement of the Victoria Police Department in the CSU raid of last year.   This investigation was initiated by member William Freeman.

Now we need members and the public to help us convince the VPD that it is irresponsible to assist the CSU in raiding the VCBC as it negatively affects the health and well-being of many seriously ill patients.  There are two steps.  The first step is writing a letter to introduce yourself and encourage a full investigation into this situation.  

Simply write to info@opcc.bc.ca.  This letter can be short and sweet.  Here is an example:

Hello Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner

My name is Ted Smith and I have been a member of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club since Jan 1996 to deal with my incurable back pain and depression.  

The products the club supplies me are far superior to what is available in the legal medical or recreational programs, at prices I can afford to use daily.  I feel very  vulnerable and threatened knowing these police actions could seriously affect my health.  

I am being negatively affected by the actions of the Victoria Police Department and want to fully participate in OPCC File #20-108001 (Freeman) in a safe manner, as I assume this will be thoroughly investigated. 

My email is hellovcbc@gmail.com and my phone number is 250-415-1063.